When the horse meat scandal first broke, my immediate thought was "If the price of meat goes up now, it would suggest that the supermarkets had been implicit all along and knew what they were buying", because the deception and profiteering would have been occurring further down the chain if they'd been paying normal market prices for their raw ingredients.
Well, prices are going up - and some of the explanations we're being offered don't sit well with me because, as with the finance industry, we're again being asked to stump up to meet the costs of ensuring that others will now act with the honesty and integrity we'd previously expected to take for granted (remember the Financial Services Authority's edict that banks should now adhere to the principle of 'Treating Customers Fairly'? ... duh!).
And, drawing further stark parallels with it's identically-acronymed (FSA) and equally ineffective financial watchdog counterpart, the toothless Food Standards Agency has abysmally failed to exercise even the most fundamental duty of care to the consumer. Surely one of its first functions should have been to, erm, monitor that food was up to a certain standard. Caught napping, it will probably now put out a radical new directive like "The description on food packaging should be accurately representative of its contents or else we may, in the unlikely event of actually holding anyone to account, fine them and pocket the proceeds so that we can continue to fund our valuable work".
So now the cost of DNA testing is being held up as one of the reasons we'll pay more for meat. Another, based on consumer behaviour in the immediate aftermath of Horse-Gate (a significant drop in processed food sales), is that market forces will come into play as a result of the increasing demand for fresh meat produce. I can see this, but again we're paying the penalty for a change in consumer behaviour brought about as a direct consequence of the actions of the unscrupulous.
Dr Pamela Robinson, a former Tesco executive and now a lecturer in international food chains, warns that it's inevitable that supermarkets will have to put up prices to guarantee quality.
So they didn't care before?